IntelliVocab for SAT

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
IntelliVocab for SAT App Poster Image
Free practice tool is good but has incomplete word list.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn over 200 vocabulary words by studying definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences and by answering multiple-choice practice questions in IntelliVocab for SAT. Most words will be challenging for teens, such as "zeitgeist" and "salient," but a few words are don't seem like SAT-level vocabulary; for example, "writing" is on the list. The word list has navigation tabs for all letters of the alphabet, but there are only words that start with A-E, S, W, Y, and Z. Though limited in customization and far from comprehensive, IntelliVocab for SAT is a fine supplement to teens' SAT prep routines.

Ease of Play

The app is easy enough to use aside from occasional glitches, such as closing unexpectedly. The overall design can be a bit confusing and there are no tutorials or explanations to help. For one, it may confuse some users that the words on the word list have difficulty scores, but users cannot change them; the app actually ranks the words automatically based on users' performance on practice questions and tests. In the beginning, all words are ranked as a 10. Teens can choose the difficulty level of words to practice in the settings, but until they have spent some time with the app, this option doesn't filter the words accurately. The ability to email yourself and the automatic scoring of the quiz are useful features. The length of the practice is determined by the user.


A few definitions mention violence, but it is not sensationalized. For example, for the word "autopsy," the contextual sentence reads, "The coroner performed an autopsy on the murder victim's body."


A few relevant definitions mention sex, but not in a lurid way.


The free version of the app has only 290 words. At the end of each practice session and test, and when looking at the progress report, a red banner encourages users to "Upgrade to SAT Deluxe" and links to the App Store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few relevant definitions mention drinking or alcohol, but it is not promoted. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that IntelliVocab for SAT has several useful tools for practicing a little over 200 vocabulary words, but the word list is not comprehensive and the settings options could be a bit confusing for teens. Users can choose to scroll through the definitions of words and view antonyms, synonyms, and example sentences. They can also practice selecting the correct definitions of words or take a 30-question quiz. This app is nearly identical to the app IntelliVocab for GRE and GMAT. Teens are encouraged to upgrade to the deluxe version with over 4800 words for $.99.

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What's it about?

From the home screen teens can choose to answer practice questions, review the word list, view a progress report, take a 30-question test, or adjust the app's settings. The app includes over 200 words with definition, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences for each. Some of the words (not all) have audio pronunciations. As teens answer the multiple-choice questions, the app adjusts the difficulty ranking of words and records data on performance. Teens can review a report on their progress that includes helpful learning data.

Is it any good?

INTELLIVOCAB FOR SAT provides a promising and useful way of learning the definitions of words, and the tools for tracking progress are helpful. That said, the occasional glitches and typos and the bizarre distribution of words (or lack thereof) is disappointing. Without a tutorial to explain the app's design, users might be confused to see seemingly easy words categorized as difficulty level 10 out of 10. It takes a while to figure out that until the user answers questions with a word, it remains a 10. Because of this, the settings options for adjusting the difficulty aren't helpful at first.

In addition, some of the words in the app don't seem like SAT-level words, for example, "writing" is on the list. On the whole, the price is right, so go ahead and add this to your test prep toolbox, but don't rely on it to be comprehensive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • In the lead-up to the big test, post an SAT word on the fridge each day. Encourage your teens to use the word in conversation and help them to use it correctly. (You might learn something, too!)

  • Encourage your teen to read as widely as possible. Reading on a daily basis -- especially more complex texts -- helps expand vocabulary.

App details

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